by Debra Schell Press And Journal Staff : 5/25/2011
When the flames and smoke filled Tracy Kowalcyk’s kitchen just before 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, she grabbed her two dogs and ran out through a side door to call for help.
Kowalcyk said she was cooking with grease and went to the basement for a bag of curly fries. When she came back to her kitchen it was in flames, she said as she watched firefighters put out the flames of her home in the first block of Roosevelt Ave., Middletown.
“I grabbed my dogs and went out the side,” Kowalcyk said.
“It was my mistake,” she said. “But it’s just good that everyone got out, and is safe. That is all that matters.”
Kowalcyk notified Middletown Area High School, where her daughter, Amy Mills, is a senior, asking them to keep her at school “so she wouldn’t have to see all of this, but they sent her home.”
“It’s like oh my God!” she said. “It is the little things that you can’t get back.”
Kowalcyk has owned the home since 2005.
Smoke detectors Kowalcyk got when purchasing the home were in the basement and not properly installed, she said.
The fire is under investigation, Fire Marshall Mick Shrauder.
The house was not a total loss, but damage was significant, he said.
Kowalcyk said they plan to stay with family in Oberlin until they can find a more permanent place to stay.
Firefighters from Middletown, Highspire, Steelton, Lower Swatara, Londonderry, and Elizabethtown responded to the fire, which was under control by 11:17 a.m.
The Red Cross was also contacted to assist the family, Shrauder said.